With Apple likely to maintain its usual one-year gap between updates to its popular product series we can expect to see iPad mark II sometime around April – if not before. As the original iPad was announced at a press event in January 2010, it’s also likely we’ll get some kind of official announcement early in 2011. With that date rapidly approaching we thought it would be a good time to do a round up of the more credible rumors surrounding the next generation iPad that for the time being, thanks to Apple’s renowned secrecy, has simply been dubbed the iPad 2.
Although this would likely be a welcome addition for many users, the Economic Daily News has a mixed track record when it comes to Apple rumors. Although it was the first to reveal that Apple was working on a tablet and not a netbook, it also reported that Apple was planning a 7-inch iPad before Christmas 2010. Steve Jobs specifically denied this in October but more recent reports have sparked rumors of a smaller iPad once again – just not before Christmas obviously.
As for a USB port, this seems like a longer shot than others on the list but may be helped by the fact that the European Commission this year formally approved a policy that will require nearly all smartphones and “data-enabled” phones to adopt a standard micro-USB charging connector from January 2011. The iPad obviously isn’t a phone, but Apple has signed the agreement.
However, the most recent rumor doing the rounds relates to how Apple might achieve shedding some of that weight. According to a new patent application from Apple published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office this week that was discovered by AppleInsider, Apple may be considering doing away with the solid aluminum back of the current iPad in favor of much lighter carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP).
The patent application concerns a “Reinforced Device Housing” for electronic devices composed of a “layered fiber-in-matrix type material, such as CFRP,” with illustrations showing a housing with dimensions suspiciously similar to an iPad. Again, a slimmer, lighter iPad 2 seems a sure thing. How Apple achieves the weight reduction is another matter but replacing the hefty aluminum housing would be the obvious place to start.
With the iPad enjoying one of the most successful launches of a tech gadget in history, it’s not surprising speculation regarding the next generation of the device is rife. Of course, if you’re not the sort to buy into such crystal ball gazing it shouldn’t be too long before we get the official word from the horse’s mouth.
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